We Are Morgan Lewis

Here the people of Morgan Lewis share their stories, reflect on their histories, and embody the firm’s commitment to inclusion, innovation, collaboration, engagement, and well-being. While we celebrate what makes us unique, there is one thing that unites us all: We Are Morgan Lewis.

Five Perspectives: Doing Well By Being Well

In May, we recognize Mental Health Awareness Month and celebrate the Institute for Well-Being in Law’s (IWIL’s) annual Well-Being Week in Law. Members of our firm share how they are fulfilling the various dimensions of our ML Well program this month and every day, including the benefits they’re experiencing to their well-being as a result of their participation in ML Well’s comprehensive approach.

Managing People and Properties: Traveling Unique Paths to Global Operations

Jackie Sillis, our firm’s Regional Director of Administration for Europe and Middle East (EME), has helped lead the organizational performance of Morgan Lewis for 30 years. Marilyn Vazquez, recently returned to the US West Coast where she is Regional Director of Administration-US, has helped the firm cook on all burners from three different perches since 2010. The pair recently reflected on their career pathways—and the ways they’ve each seen their time with the firm evolve.

Dual Love: Three Partners Share Their Pursuit to Motherhood and Careers in Law

Statistically speaking, lawyer moms are often confronted with the notion that a career as a practicing partner and parenthood can’t coexist. But there are countless journeys and testimonials to be told to the contrary. It may take a village. The path may be winding. And it simply may not be the prettiest picture all the time. Morgan Lewis partner moms Pamela Wu, Julie Silva Palmer, and Ali Rivett’s family photos and anecdotes illustrate a day in the life of a working mom and provide some meaningful moments to show what that journey has looked like for them. We celebrate their stories this Women’s History Month.

Riding into Success: Wai Ming Yap's Unique Unicycle Commute

Singapore partner Wai Ming Yap talks about his love of unicycling and its health benefits, the value of perseverance, and falling on his feet.

Giving Back – Global Outreach for a Global Firm

Making a positive impact and going the extra mile are aspirations that run through all aspects of Morgan Lewis's culture. Brussels partner Izzet Sinan, Frankfurt legal secretary Sabine Blesius, and London administrative manager Laura Smith share their stories about how they go above and beyond to support others, not just in their local communities, but all over the world.

The Influence of Sports: How a Former Gymnast, Ballerina, and Figure Skater Apply Their Skills to Law

When one thinks of professional sports, football, basketball, and running float to top of mind. Yet, there are defining characteristics that all athletes—and successful lawyers—embody: Preparation. Time management. Tenacity. Attention to detail. This month, Philadelphia partner Zane Memeger, Los Angeles partner Yardena Zwang-Weissman, and Washington associate Matthew Julyan share stories about their former lives as a competitive gymnast, ballerina, and figure skater, respectively, detail their proudest achievements, and discuss how sports have played a large role and influenced their work as lawyers.

Sharing Our Love of Books Through Mentorship

At Morgan Lewis, mentorship is an essential component of the relationships we develop with our peers, including in the communities where we live and work. Our lawyers and professional staff have long served as mentors through Read Ahead, a nonprofit reading-based mentorship program that pairs elementary school students with adult volunteers to help develop the social-emotional skills essential for children’s academic and life-long success.

How Rachel Mann Carries Her Teaching Past Into Her Legal Career

September means a return to school for students and teachers across the United States—a routine that former teacher, employee benefits, and executive compensation associate Rachel Mann knew well. After graduating from the University of Pennsylvania in 2012, Rachel spent six years as a teacher, getting her start in the profession through Teach For America. She still maintains ties to her education life, counting universities among the firm’s clients she serves and keeping up with former students as they embark on their own journeys into adulthood. Rachel shares with us her path to becoming a lawyer and lessons she brought with her from the classroom to the legal profession.

Greener Pastures: How Saving Horses Centers Michelle Pector

Growing up as the daughter of a military officer, the first place Michelle Pector visited at every new Air Force base was the stables. Horses became her safe space in times of change. So, when she received a call from a friend to help rescue a horse that was being abused, Michelle and her husband didn’t hesitate to hook up their trailer and transport the Appaloosa to a second chance at life in their Texas backyard. That one rescue turned into three, and Michelle’s Texas backyard became a safe refuge for horses in need.

Blazing a Trail: Toni Moran Creates New Paths in the Army and the Law

Associate Antonia (Toni) Moran first joined the US Army to continue a familial legacy as both her father and grandfather served, with the latter having fought in World War II. While she may have followed in the footsteps of her family toward the Army, Toni soon blazed her own trail. Selected for a very elite all-female unit, Toni was deployed to Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. She served as an enabler supporting the Joint Special Operations Command Forces and instructed Afghan Security Force members on sensitive combat operations.

Kandis Gibson: You Belong in The Room

Associate Kandis Gibson is many things: a first-generation lawyer; an ITC patent, trademark, and copyright infringement guru; and a dedicated, but humble, endurance athlete. And starting this month, she has one year to shape the agenda of the Women’s Bar Association of the District of Columbia (WBA) as its new president. Fresh from the waters of the Chesapeake Bay, which she recently swam, the WBA’s newest leader shares her insights on how women show up differently in the law as well as affirmation of belonging where you are.

From Chef to Litigator: August Heckman’s Path to Law

Before partner August Heckman began representing employers in a wide range of discrimination, retaliation, contract, and common law claims in front of tribunals and agencies, he was a successful chef in top New York– and New Jersey–area restaurants. August explains how he first started in the restaurant industry (learning about industry employment laws) and what lessons he took from the kitchen to the courtroom.  

Meet the Band: Morgan Lewis & ROCKius

Our firm band, Morgan Lewis & ROCkius, took top honors at the ninth annual charity event Law Rocks San Francisco on April 20, 2023. Morgan Lewis partners Joan Haratani, Geoff Holtz, Doug Crisman, and Mike Schlemmer; of counsel Louis Nguyen; senior attorney Marisa Chaves; and associate Ali Gonsman rocked out to raise money for Child Advocates of Silicon Valley.

Combining Art and Heart: How Shana Pederson Helps Human Trafficking Victims

Nearly 15 years ago, Shoshana “Shana” Pederson found a way to combine her two passions: art and community service. She founded the 501(c)(3) organization Life Preservers Project, which harnesses the arts and law to help ameliorate human trafficking abuses in the United States. In addition to being Morgan Lewis’s manager of eData recruiting, Shana is also the Life Preservers Project’s programs director and art teacher. She shared a bit more about the program with us.

Understanding the Business of Sports: Samantha Ojo

For most athletes, working in one professional sports league is a dream come true. But associate Samantha Ojo didn’t stop at just one. Before she joined Morgan Lewis’s global sports industry team, Samantha worked for the NFL, NFL Players Association, LA Clippers, and the MLB Players Association, gaining a true appreciation for how a professional sports team runs. She applies that knowledge, along with her college athletics experience, as a labor and employment lawyer for our sports clients. Samantha shares a bit more of her story, and tells us how being an athlete has made her a better lawyer and colleague.

Steven Navarro: From M&A to EMT

When partner Steven Navarro isn’t working on cross-border mergers and acquisitions and other corporate transactions, he serves as a volunteer emergency medical technician (EMT) with the Westport Volunteer Emergency Medical Service (WVEMS) in his Connecticut hometown. Steven shares more about the work and why he was called to do it.

Climbing to New Heights

When Morgan Lewis partner Scott Schutte summited Mt Kilimanjaro (or Kili for those in the know) in September 2022, it ignited a friendly competition throughout the firm among fellow climbers. Dubai partner Anastasia Dergacheva, Philadelphia Chief Information Officer Steve Naphy, and Chicago partner Scott Schutte all share their experiences making it to the top of the highest single free-standing mountain above sea level in the world.

Primary Contacts

Amanda D. Smith

Chief Engagement Officer

Malaika Lindo

Senior Director of Diversity and Inclusion